Seeking to resurrect its eight-year legal battle against rent control in Santa Monica, a landlord group has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rule on whether the city's regulations allow owners a fair return on their investments.
Stephen Jones, the attorney for the Apartment Assn. of Greater Los Angeles, has asked for a ruling on one aspect of the so-called Baker case. In the original suit, which emerged as the main legal challenge to Santa Monica's rent control, the landlords said the city's law violated property owners' rights to a fair rate of return. The suit also challenged the city's right to control the demolition of rental property.
The suit, named after Santa Monica landlord leader James A. Baker, was filed in April, 1979, less than 24 hours after voters approved one of the strictest rent control laws in the country.
The city lost in Compton Superior Court but won a delay pending an appeal. In May, 1986, a state Court of Appeal overturned the lower court's ruling. Last September, the state Supreme Court rejected a request to hear the case by the landlord group, which has spent about $500,000 so far in its legal battle.